PARIS (Reuters) – French police are dismantling an illegal migrants’ campsite in Grande-Synthe, a northern coastal site next to Dunkirk, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday, amid renewed tensions between France and Britain on the migrants issue.
Close to 1,000 people are being evacuated and transferred to local shelter facilities, French media reported.
British frustration at the number of migrants illegally crossing the English Channel from French shores has resurfaced after more than 1,000 refugees reached southern England in a single day last week.
Darmanin said he had discussed the issue with his British counterpart Priti Patel on Monday evening.
“We will maintain our operational cooperation and strengthen our joint action against migrant traffickers,” he said on Twitter.
Darmanin had earlier on Monday blamed Britain for the crisis, saying Britain’s labour laws encouraged migrants to attempt the perilous crossing of the Channel by dinghy.
French police say that while they are preventing more dinghies from making the crossing, they can only stem the flow. The migrants are too numerous, the shore too long and the smugglers too good at eluding security to intercept every dinghy, they say.
Before the dismantling of the Grande-Synthe campsite, the number of migrants spread between Dunkirk and Calais was estimated at around 2,000 by the French authorities.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Ed Osmond)